Elections 2013: ‘Dir women disenfranchised for security reasons’

Published: May 20, 2013
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Sirajul Haq says intelligence reports said that female suicide bombers could mount attacks on voters. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

Sirajul Haq says intelligence reports said that female suicide bombers could mount attacks on voters. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Restoring peace in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will be a major challenge for the incoming provincial government, says Sirajul Haq, the finance minister-designate in the provincial cabinet.

“But it [the provincial government] will have little say on the issue,” adds Haq, who was elected to the K-P Assembly from PK-95 (Lower Dir-II) on a Jamaat-e-Islami ticket.

In an exclusive chat with The Express Tribune, Haq said that resolving the security issue in K-P depends entirely on the will of the military establishment and federal government. “If they desire to end this bloody game, the issue would be settled within hours,” he added.

If Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan could approach the media, then why was it impossible for the military to negotiate with the Taliban and end the bloody conflict, he said.

For peace talks to begin, Haq suggested that some Taliban prisoners could be released as a goodwill gesture. “But this decision can only be taken at the level of the federal government or the military command.”

Haq revealed that before the 2008 elections, the Awami National Party had reached an agreement with the Taliban on the release of some of their prisoners. In exchange, the Taliban agreed not to create any trouble for the party during its election campaign. However, the ANP reneged on its promise due to the military’s reluctance, and as a result it suffered countless attacks at the hands of the Taliban, he said.

Agreement to bar women from polls

Haq offered a different account regarding the agreement inked by political parties to bar women from voting in his constituency. He claimed that the deal was proposed by the Pakistan Peoples Party based on intelligence reports which suggested militants were planning to use female suicide bombers to attack polling stations on May 11.

“All parties reached a consensus in light of the reports,” he added. “I was personally not in favour of disenfranchising local women.”

Education and budget

As a cabinet member, Haq said his first priority would be to reopen the schools destroyed by Taliban insurgents in the province and to launch a microfinance scheme for graduates. “Under the scheme, loans will be provided to graduates according to their skills level,” he said.

The JI leader, who will likely present the provincial budget for the year 2013-14, said the provincial budget could be termed a bureaucratic budget because the new finance minister and provincial government would have little time to introduce significant changes to it.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • citizen
    May 20, 2013 - 10:12AM

    seriously security was reason ? It was unfair and inhumane to bar women from polling . shame on parties who agreed to this . Our intelligence is a failure always .

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  • Zubair
    May 20, 2013 - 10:13AM

    In the last many years, i have failed to understand the importance of budget presentation in Pakistan and its provinces. They always end up in deficit with many mini budgets to follow. So just go honest and provide relief..where there is a will there is a way.Recommend

  • Nauman
    May 20, 2013 - 10:58AM

    So if there is a fear that men will launch suicide attack, then they should also be barred from voting? This is like Rehman Maliks ban on mobile phones.

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  • Concerned
    May 20, 2013 - 11:15AM

    What a lame excuse!
    Most of the suicide bombers are male then why the men were not disenfranchised or why hold elections at all for the fear of violence. Disenfranchising 50% of the population is the most horrible form of rigging but not a single political party is making any bones about it.
    “They had it coming” logic for selective attacks on ANP candidates because they reneged on the promise of releasing Taliban prisoners is another omen about the future course the new KPK Govt will be taking.
    My sincere commiserations

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  • LOK
    May 20, 2013 - 11:18AM

    I mean, come on. lol

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  • H Majid
    May 20, 2013 - 11:18AM

    The probability of an attack by a male suicide bomber or by a male militant is much higher than that from a female counterpart. By this logic, all men should be kept away from the polls in the next election.

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  • fahim
    May 20, 2013 - 11:31AM

    I will print so much notes so that Pakistan debt would be released : JI leader late 90’s

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  • Masood Khan
    May 20, 2013 - 12:56PM

    Regardless of given lame excuses, ECP shall cancel results of all those Upper & Lower Dir constituencies wherein women were either barred to vote (as evident from written agreements) or participation was negligible. All those involved in these unholy agreements shall be prosecuted and barred for life from holding public office.

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  • sulfi
    May 20, 2013 - 6:11PM

    point to be noted that all parties are signed the agreement ,so this is a serous issue i think it is a right decesion .

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